Some 611 former rebels and their families received a total of P45.79-million in financial and livelihood assistance since July 2022 under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to help them lead peaceful lives, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos, Jr. said the E-CLIP assistance granted to FRs covers livelihood, education, housing, medical and other social services crucial to their reintegration into society.
"Wars are won by the hearts of the people. We need to reframe our focus on viewing insurgency as purely security and military concern into a much broader social, economic concern and injustice," Abalos said in his keynote speech during the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) Summit at Widus Hotel, Clark, Pampanga held recently.
He urged local government units (LGUs) to work closely with the national government in nipping insurgency from the roots by prioritizing programs, projects and activities that are responsive, socially inclusive, and involve the active participation of different sectors to pursue the country’s peace agenda.
He cited the institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach in Executive Order No. 70 as the game changer in addressing the ills of the society including poverty, social inequality, and historical injustice among others.
Meanwhile, Abalos said there are 1,019 completed Support to Barangay Development Projects (SBDP) projects in insurgency-cleared far-flung barangays last year have already made a huge difference in the lives of beneficiaries.
He said these much-needed infrastructure and social development packages funded by SBDP are those identified by the communities themselves when they crafted their enhanced barangay development programs e-BDPs in priority insurgency-cleared barangays.
"Napapabilis na ang pagdadala ng mga produkto papunta sa mga pamilihan. Sa panahong may medical emergency, may health station na maaasahan sa barangay. Hindi na kakailanganing maglakad ng higit isang oras ang mga bata para makapasok ng paaralan. At matutulungan din ang mga kababaihan at kalalakihan na paunlarin ang kanilang livelihood skills para maka-generate ng mas malaki pang mga kita," Abalos said.
He said funds have also been released for the implementation of another 1,658 SBDP projects this year which includes farm-to-market roads, health stations, school buildings, electrification, livelihood, and various forms of assistance for the beneficiaries.
Because of the active engagement of all sectors of the society in the peace agenda, the DILG Chief also said the number of active communist guerilla fronts massively decreased from 89 down to five (5) and that some 3,207 geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) have completed the capacity development initiatives of the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).
Despite the huge budget cut in the SBDP FY2022 budget from P20-million to only P4-million per barangay, Abalos assured the LGUs that the DILG and Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. are one with the LGUs in ensuring that all the barangays, cities, municipalities, and provinces institutionalize the peace agenda in their plans and pursue programs and activities that will help facilitate the responsive delivery of basic services.
Showcase of best practices
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Marlo Iringan said the SBDP Summit goes back to the whole-of-nation approach in the Executive Order No. 70 being the foundation for the crafting of the Department's peace projects.
"We have journeyed and worked together to foster localized peace engagement and opened up livelihood opportunities. Let us celebrate the gains achieved over the years, share the good news, be more inspired and motivated to give more. Let us ensure vertical linkage of the communities to the national peace agenda," Iringan said.
DILG III Region Director Atty. Anthony Nuyda said the SBDP addresses the problem of inequality as funds as now available for development projects even in far-flung areas.
"May we all go back to our constituents full of enthusiasm. Let us lead our constituents towards peace and development," Nuyda said.
The SBDP Summit was organized by the DILG Localization of Executive Order No 70 (LEO 70) Project Management Office (PMO),(SBDP PMO, and DILG Region III.
Around 700 participants joined the event composed of 10 governors, 250 city/municipal mayors, DILG Regional Directors, and SBDP beneficiaries nationwide.